1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

My CC Allows Pre-Calc I to Applied Calc. Should I Do It?

  1. Dec 13, 2014 #1
    I'm taking Pre-Calculus I here at my community college. From there, students can go to either Pre-Calculus II or Applied Calculus (but not to "regular" Calculus I).

    Applied calc. is supposed to be business calculus used in business, biology, and other degrees and the director told me that they don't use trig. functions at all, so Pre-Calculus II (where those topics are taught) is not a pre-requisite.

    Some questions:
    1.) I am going to take Pre-Calculus II anyways at a bare minimum, because I eventually want to take Calculus I (and you need it for that). But, I'm soooooo intrigued with being able to do some calculus right away that I'm tempted to take Applied Calculus concurrently with my Pre-Calc. II next semester.

    Does anyone see any math difficulties that might arise if I did this? Would simply taking Pre-Calc. II first help in some way before taking Applied Calc. I know the director said you don't need PCII, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I might be missing here? Like any dangers to doing this? I just don't want to take AC and find I'm not able to handle it or it's way too hard. Would something like AC be considered a very hard class? I know that's relative question, but my background is that I'm a hard worker and have gotten all A's in my math classes thus far. I am not a natural at the subject, but very curious about it and enjoy it nonetheless. I am willing to work hard at it.

    2.) Would taking Applied Calc. first help with or possibly even (the opposite) mess up anything I do in Calculus I later on? How are they related and different? Would they complement each other nicely? Would there by any confusion, advantages, disadvantages, etc. in taking one first vs. the other?

    My plan would be to do this:
    Spring 2015: Pre-Calc. II and Applied Calc.
    Fall 2015: Calc. I

    Feedback?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2014 #2
    It would probably be a waste of time to take applied calculus if you intend on taking calculus 1 for science majors afterward. Trigonometry is important in calculus and used all the time. I would just follow the track your school has and take pre-calculus II and then calculus 1 without the applied course. When I was in community college before transferring to a UC I recall that you couldn't receive credit for the business calculus course if you took the science major version. This might be the case in your school and something worth considering.

    If you're excited to learn about calculus you should try to use the time spent not taking applied calculus on using online resources to get some understanding of what's ahead. You could find cheap older versions of math textbooks on amazon or even better, you could just use the library. But it will be difficult to self-study calculus without having some understanding from pre-calculus II. It's important you understand the fundamentals completely so they don't bother you later on when you take calculus 1. Don't worry too much about needing to learn everything rapidly and getting far ahead.
     
  4. Dec 13, 2014 #3

    462chevelle

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    At my school applied calculus is basically a joke compared to calc1. You don't learn any of the theorems or use trig. You don't really understand what or why you're doing certain things. You just strictly do computation problems over and over. If i were you i would take the precalc2 class and self study calculus. If you want an advantage for calc1 go ahead and learn the concepts of limits, derivatives, and integrals.
     
  5. Jan 17, 2015 #4
    Would any of these topics (highlighted red above) be covered in an Applied Calculus course?

    I'm wondering what overlap there is between Applied Calc. and "real" Calculus?

    Thanks for your insight. I still haven't made a decision yet, but thought I'd mention that the extra money and time wouldn't be a big deal for me. So, I wouldn't mind taking Applied Calculus if it helped with "real" Calculus at all or even offered something uniquely different (just to learn something new).

    Here's a question: Does Applied Calculus lead to anything higher? Like can you take Applied Calc. II later? Also, does what you learn in Applied Calculus have broad mathematical uses where it could be helpful later on in one's math career? I know regular Calculus is what is needed for most sciences and is often considered "real" Calculus, but where does AC fit in the grand scheme of things?

    Again, I haven't made a choice yet, but just looking at the pros/cons of this all.....Appreciate the help again guys.
     
  6. Jan 17, 2015 #5

    462chevelle

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Applied calc at my school is more computational and less theoretical. I had some friends in it, they covered the same concepts as us but didn't use trig or learn any of the theorems or conditions. Like for example they didn't learn the mean value theorem, rolle's theorem, or the squeeze theorem. They never had those tricky problems that didn't meet the requirements to use a theorem, that make you spend a bunch of time doing work to find out you didn't really have to do anything. I think if someone wanted to cushion themselves that they could take applied calc, calc1, calc2 etc...

    Although, whenever they take calc2 , they will be so used to breezing through everything it might not be a good thing.
     
  7. Jan 17, 2015 #6

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Just reading no farther than this:

    Do both your Pre-Calc 1 AND 2, and then if done well, go onto Calculus 1. You still would be able to learn to apply Calculus, as you would see application exercises.
     
  8. Jan 17, 2015 #7

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    I mostly agree with that, but instead of calling Applied Calculus a joke, I would simply imagine (because I never took such a course) that it is less thorough than Calculus 1...
     
  9. Jan 17, 2015 #8

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Calculus 1 should be better because it is more complete. "Applied Calculus" would be contained in Calculus 1. Your understanding should be better and your skill and judgement should become better, too, if you study Calculus 1 and Calculus 2.
     
  10. Jan 17, 2015 #9

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    bballwaterboy,

    What is your purpose for the Applied Calculus course? Does the course teach you calculus skills and show you how to use them for specific business and social science purposes without teaching and exploring how Calculus works? Learn MORE! Study your Precalculuses intended for scientists and engineers, and study in order, the Calculus 1,2,3 sequence. Hard courses, thorough courses, applications WILL BE INCLUDED. Ultimately, you would ... know what you're doing.
     
  11. Jan 17, 2015 #10

    QuantumCurt

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    An applied/business calculus kind of course is a cursory survey over some areas of calculus that are useful in business, the softer sciences, and the social sciences. It isn't a rigorous development of the theory of calculus. It would honestly be a waste of time to take it if you're planning on taking calc 1 anyway. Although it's not necessarily a blowoff class, at most schools it is known as being a fairly easy math class for people that don't really like math but still need to complete a college level math course.

    The problem with taking this first is that you're not going to see a thorough development of limits before getting into the more mechanical and formulaic aspects of elementary differentiation and integration. An applied calculus course is going to cover a brief introduction to show you how to find a limit, but it's not going to go into much depth about what a limit actually is or what it means.

    I think you'd be better off skipping the applied calculus class and instead taking more time to focus on the pre-calc.
     
  12. Feb 4, 2015 #11
    If that's the case, then I'll skip AC. I just liked the idea of possibly getting slightly ahead and also learning potentially something unique/different (from Calculus I). But if Calc. I contains AC, then there'd be no point for me to take it.
     
  13. Feb 4, 2015 #12
    After reading through everyone's comments, I've decided to skip AC and go with C1, C2, C3. Appreciated the feedback everyone! It was well-thought out and made sense and I learned little tidbits of info. about these courses I hadn't been able to get elsewhere. The profs. I emailed just said:

    "Take AC if you're going to major in a social science and C1, etc. if you're going into the hard sciences."

    But you guys fleshed it out more for me. Thanks a bunch!
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: My CC Allows Pre-Calc I to Applied Calc. Should I Do It?
Loading...